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  Southern Section diary

Like so many things, it seemed like a good idea when I volunteered. The Cream Tea Run was looking for an arranger and I hadn’t organised a full-blown run, so, I thought I’d put my hand up. Was this a mistake? After the event at least, it was a definite no from me.

Finding a destination venue was simple enough. Denbies Vineyard, close to picturesque Box Hill, with a plethora of different routes approaching it, and space enough to accommodate anything the Southern Section could throw at it, was an ideal choice. Where to start the run? Newlands Corner was obvious but possibly over-used and definitely too close. Looking around, I came up with the National Trust Café at The Devil’s Punchbowl.

The route was another issue. The temptation is always to use the roads you already know but this would make the route too familiar for most of the riders and probably, too short. Using Google My Maps, I entered start and finish points creating a quick route by default. Dragging the lines here and there and I was able to create a whole route using roads that I would never have even considered, before converting the map to a .GPX file ready to upload to the sat nav. Following a test ride of my proposed route 3 weeks prior to the day, proved the choice to be good.

That’s the theory of it all but, on the day, I was extremely apprehensive. Last week’s Soup Run was such a success with warm weather, and a well-planned, and well-lead run, to a unique destination was going to be a tough act to follow.
Robert enjoying the view of
The Devil's Punchbowl
We arrived at the Devil’s Punchbowl around 9.30 and there was already a couple of bikes in the car park. A quick tweak of the sat nav, time for cuppa, and ready for the off. 8 bikes, a novice leader, and a nadgery route, had all the possibilities of chaos.  With the support of my fellow riders however, we had a thoroughly enjoyable, 52 mile amble through the twists and turns of the Surrey lanes which took just shy of 2 hours – testament to how twisty the route was.

The Spring warmth was just bringing the trees into bud with additional colour provided by carpets the of bluebells in between. Wonderful sunshine and a distinct lack of traffic, made the run all the more enjoyable.

Denbies Vineyard, although busy, was professionally organised, with the pre-booked table awaiting our arrival and lunch providing a suitable conclusion to an enjoyable day out.

9 April 2017
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